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  • Spencer Frady

PREVIEW: James Dean Classic Storylines


Series News Release - USAC Media


Gas City, Indiana (September 19, 2023) - Double the series. Double the action. Double the fun!


That’s how the agenda rolls each year in late September at Indiana’s Gas City I-69 Speedway when the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National join together for a rare doubleheader.


The best of both worlds is presented this Thursday night, September 21, at the Hoosier state 1/4-mile dirt oval during the fifth edition of the James Dean Classic.


Gas City has hosted two of the best finishes of the entire USAC National season with Logan Seavey’s late-race heroics with the midgets in June and Justin Grant’s last turn photo finish triumph in July with the sprint cars.


Gas City never disappoints. Gas City always delivers. And we’ve got the goods two times over this Thursday night.


Here’s six storylines fit for the silver screen. Six storylines in honor of Jimmy Dean. James Dean. Rock on!


SEAVEY’S GAS CITY TURNING POINT


Logan Seavey’s streak of 11 consecutive top-five finishes with the USAC National Midgets started right at Gas City in June during Indiana Midget Week.

Entering the Gas City round three months ago, Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) was mired an astonishing 110 points out of the championship lead and stood sixth overall in the standings.


After leading the final two laps of a 30-lap racelong duel with Emerson Axsom, Seavey scored his and Abacus Racing’ first ever USAC victory. Since that point, the team has been nearly unstoppable, winning four, finishing second on three occasions, taking third another three times and once finishing fourth.

All of it has boosted Seavey to a whopping 171-point lead entering his return to Gas City this Thursday.


SEE SAW STORY: GRANT & BACON SPRINT CAR TITLE FIGHT CONTINUES


Between Justin Grant and Brady Bacon, the pair have captured each of the last three USAC National Sprint Car driving titles with Grant attempting to defend his 2022 championship while Bacon aims to reach the top for a fifth time after previous crowns in 2014-16-20-21.


It’s readily apparent that the same two vets will be duking it out to the finish line once again in 2023 with Grant holding on to a nine-point edge over Bacon with five races remaining starting Thursday at Gas City.


Grant (Ione, Calif.) owns the bragging rights at Gas City this year, already having won the Indiana Sprint Week round in July. Furthermore, Grant is a past James Dean Classic victor in 2020. Bacon owns winning experience at Gas City too, collecting the USAC Sprint Cars’ springtime appearance in 2015.


Grant and Bacon also are the two winningest drivers in USAC National Sprint Car competition this season with Grant taking nine and Bacon seven of his own. Either is clearly capable of hitting double-digits in the win column, something that hasn’t been done with the series since Tyler Courtney in 2018.

DOUBLE DOUBLE, IN-N-OUT OF TWO DIFFERENT RIDES


The fun part of a USAC doubleheader on the fan side is getting to watch drivers tackle multiple disciplines of racing on one track on one night.


For drivers, it gets busy with double the workload, but also presents a chance for a rare opportunity to not only race a sprint car and midget on the same night, but also the chance to win in both on one night.


At least four drivers are set to compete in both ends of Gas City’s doubleheader: Logan Seavey, Justin Grant, Thomas Meseraull and Daison Pursley.


Seavey and Grant have both been victorious in USAC National Sprint Car and USAC National Midget racing at Gas City in their careers. In fact, Seavey has already experienced the joy of winning two USAC National features in one day this past August when he scored a Silver Crown win at the Illinois State Fairgrounds during the day and with the National Midgets during the night at Macon (Ill.) Speedway.


Meseraull (San Jose, Calif. has twice been a track champion at Gas City and has won with the USAC Regional Midgets there as well. Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) has found himself in victory lane behind the wheel of sprints and midgets in his young career but is eying a first points victory of the season this Thursday.

BUDDY ON THE GAS ONCE AGAIN


No driver has won three career USAC National Midget features at Gas City I-69 Speedway, but Buddy Kofoid will be taking his shot at that record this Thursday night in a fifth Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports machine.


Fresh off a pair of World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car wins over the past couple weekends in his home state of California, Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) has made four USAC Midget starts in 2023, winning twice during USAC Indiana Midget Week at Lincoln Park Speedway and at Circle City Raceway while also finishing second and fourth in his other two appearances.

Kofoid’s two victories in USAC National Midget competition are tied for the most all-time alongside Shane Cottle, Darren Hagen and Kyle Larson.

KAYLEE, JADE, TAYLOR & HOLLY

Four of the most successful women ever to compete in the USAC National Midget ranks will be on hand to race with the series at Gas City this Thursday night, aiming to make some history of their own.


Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.) equaled the best ever finish by a woman in a USAC National Midget event during the 2022 James Dean Classic at Gas City when she led a race-high 18 laps and finished as the runner-up. This Thursday, she’ll make her season debut with the series in the CB Industries No. 89.


Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.) is among the group, and has finished as the runner-up multiple times in her career with the series, both this season. She scored a second in her Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports ride at the Belleville (Kan.) Short Track in May and notched another second during the most recent round at Wisconsin’s Angell Park Speedway in early September.


Taylor Reimer (Bixby, Okla.) finished eighth in her lone visit to Gas City this season. Reimer’s most recent outing with the USAC National Midgets resulted in her leading a race-high 16 laps en route to a fifth-place finish at Angell Park.

Holly Jones (nee Shelton), a veteran of 53 career USAC National Midget feature starts, returns to the series after a five-year absence to drive for Bundy Built Motorsports, and owns a best career series finish of third.

MOLES BACK UP TO SPEED


It wasn’t long ago that Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) found himself on the sidelines, dejected after a string of major crashes through the months of July and August.


In the four races since that point when he missed the entirety of the three-night Sprint Car Smackdown XII due to a concussion suffered during a major incident on the opening night of event, few drivers have been more productive than the second year USAC Sprint Car driver.


Down south at Texas’ Devil’s Bowl Speedway, he raked in a ninth, followed by a fifth at Arkansas’ Texarkana 67 Speedway. Moles swung into Indiana last weekend and recorded an eighth at Circle City Raceway and a fourth at Tri-State Speedway.


Only Moles, Justin Grant and Kyle Cummins have finished inside the top-10 in each of their past four USAC National Sprint Car feature starts entering Gas City.


RACE DETAILS


The fifth running of the James Dean Classic features the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship.


Pit gates open at 2pm Eastern with the grandstands opening at 4pm, drivers meeting at 5:45pm and cars on track at 6:15pm with qualifying and racing immediately following.


General admission tickets are $30. Kids 12 & under are free. Pit passes are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.


The full event can be watched LIVE on FloRacing.


USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-2093, 2-Brady Bacon-2084, 3-Kyle Cummins-1966, 4-Emerson Axsom-1961, 5-Jake Swanson-1926, 6-C.J. Leary-1853, 7-Robert Ballou-1771, 8-Chase Stockon-1633, 9-Mitchel Moles-1594, 10-Logan Seavey-1544.


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